Anglers hit ocean for rockfish opener

Monterey Bay

Adam and Noah Teply enjoyed non-stop action for big rockfish aboard the Miss Beth on opening day of rockfish season.

by Allen Bushnell

John Thomas from Go Fish Santa Cruz had a stellar report on Thursday morning from the wheelhouse of the beautiful Miss Beth. "First day of the season. It was beautiful! We had a slight breeze outta the east, and fished in 240 feet of water just north of Santa Cruz. We had six full limits by 10am. These were a really nice grade of rockfish including vermilions. canaries, browns and nice-sized starries.  We also caught and released a couple undersized ling cod." Looking towards the weekend and the opening of salmon season on Saturday, Thomas added, "There was good water color and whales on the outside of us. I'm kinda encouraged for what's going to happen in couple days. From what I saw we'll be able catch some."

Stagnaro's Sportfishing from Santa Cruz headed to the Davenport area for the rockfish opener. Skipper Jason Truesdale called it a "kinda tough day but we're catching canaries, some big coppers and few vermillion." Brian Cutting , skipper of the Kahuna from Moss Landing checked in on opening day with a brief report while fishing the Big Sur area. "We're rock fishing at Big Sur. It's a mixed bag of rock fish with yellows, canaries, some vermillion and eight ling cod for 15 people."

For the final days of wintertime fishing Monterey Bay, Chris’ Fishing trips continued to post big numbers on their "Crab 'and 'Dab " trips . On Sunday and Monday, anglers aboard the Check Mate caught 800 sand dabs, and 46 delicious Dungeness crab. Thursday's rockfish opener was equally productive. In a mid-morning report on Thursday, owner Chris Arcoleo said, "We went down off of Point sur today. They are almost at limits now, probably will be fishing till noon. It's all quality deep water rockfish. We're fishing in 300 feet of water and seeing yellows, bocaccies, vermilion and canaries. With this flat calm weather you should be able to get them!"

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has made a few changes in the 2021 regulations relating for the RCG Complex (Rockfish, Greenling and Cabezon). Most important are these alterations of limits for specific fish. The DFW announced, "Elimination of sub-bag limits for black rockfish, canary rockfish and cabezon within the 10-fish Rockfish, Cabezon, Greenling (RCG) complex daily bag limit." and, “A new sub-bag limit of five vermilion rockfish within the 10-fish RCG complex daily bag limit." Minimum size limit remains at 12 inches for all greenlings, ling cod must measure 22 inches for retention and minimum size for cabezone is still 15 inches. In our area, we are allowed to fish out to 300 feet of water.

Gear restrictions remain the same as last year. While rockfishing, anglers are allowed one rod only, and a maximum of two hooks per rod. The DFW Language says, "When angling, gear is restricted to not more than two hooks and one line. For purposes of this section, a hook is a single hook, or a double or treble hook with multiple points connected to a common shank."

Salmon season opens in our area this Saturday, April 1. Anglers must beware of fish identification. Zero take of silver salmon is allowed, and the legal king salmon must measure 24 inches for retention.

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